THE multinational oil companies that run the Mossmorran petrochemical complex in Fife are facing a legal crackdown for breaching pollution limits and endangering health after nine days of “unplanned” gas flares.
ExxonMobil and Shell are also being beset by demands for an independent inquiry into their ageing plants, which suffered a series of breakdowns last month. The worst incident resulted in a large pall of thick black smoke over Fife on June 18.
Both companies have been accused of “showing contempt for the community” by failing to turn up for a packed public meeting in Lochgelly Town Hall on July 5. Angry residents also attacked public agencies for failing to do enough to protect them from pollution, noise and vibrations.
ExxonMobil runs a plant at Mossmorran near Cowdenbeath converting ethane gas into ethylene for the plastics industry. An adjacent plant run by Shell separates the ethane from other gases piped in from the North Sea.
The plants regularly discharge large amounts of gas from their stacks. According to the latest official figures, in 2015 they flared 13,507 tonnes of gas as well as releasing 23 tonnes of benzene, which is known to cause cancer.
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